Penn State

Signals mixed in NCAA motion regarding Penn State consent decree

In an odd twist, the NCAA submitted a brief in Commonwealth Court this week asking for exactly what it has been fighting against: a trial on the consent decree that led to sanctions against Penn State.

“This court made clear its belief that resolving the present controversy will require a trial concerning whether the consent decree between the NCAA and the Pennsylvania State University is or is not a valid and enforceable contract,” the college sports organization’s brief read.

That language uses the court’s own decision in response to the NCAA opponents.

The NCAA reverted to form in the document’s second paragraph, saying that it doesn’t agree with Judge Anne Covey’s decision earlier this month to force a trial on the lawsuit brought against it and the university by state Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord looking for enforcement of the Endowment Act that would keep the $60 million in fines in Pennsylvania, calling such a trial neither “necessary or proper.”

However, it also disagrees with the motion from the plaintiffs for a partial judgment on the pleadings, submitted by the Corman and McCord camp about two weeks after Covey denied the NCAA’s motion to dismiss.

“This court has suggested that it has concerns about the consent decree that it believes may justify invalidating that agreement,” wrote attorney Thomas Scott, of Killian and Gephart LLP in Harrisburg.

Covey scheduled a trial for Jan. 6. Scott’s opposition said that if the consent decree is found invalid at that time, any additional declaration from the court “would no longer be applicable.”

The NCAA’s position also rebuffed the idea that its motion for a judgment in a simultaneous case in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where the NCAA is the plaintiff and McCord the defendant, along with Mark Zimmer, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is an attempt to get around Covey’s ruling.

“Plaintiffs suggest that the NCAA’s filing was somehow improper and an attempt to take an ‘appeal’ from this court’s preliminary orders,” the brief stated, calling such parallel state and federal suits “perfectly common.”

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